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SKATE SHOP VIDEO AWARDS 2023
SKATE SHOP VIDEO AWARDS 2022
VANS SKATEBOARDING x SPITFIRE WHEELS

Daniel Kreitem is the founder of Yardsale, a UK-based skate company that's expanding its reach worldwide with its unique aesthetic. Check out the interview conducted at the end of October last year, right before the release of the new film YS 3.
──DANIEL KREITEM (ENGLISH)

2024.01.29

[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]

Photo courtesy of Yardsale
Special thanks_Prov Distribution

VHSMAG (V): For those who don't know, where are you from and when did you get into skating?

Daniel Kreitem (D): I've been skating since I was 10 or 11 years old but I really got into it when I was like 15 or 16 and just grew up at Southbank pretty much. That was the place to go pretty much every single day. Just run to Southbank after school or on the weekend. It's such a mix of styles and famous skaters, local pros that you look up to. I feel like it's a really good way to bring you into skateboarding and to teach you what's cool and what's not cool, and what you should be doing and what you shouldn't be doing. So I really do owe Southbank a lot to purely making me who I am and what I think and feel about skateboarding. And then through being at Southbank, I met a load of people that used to work at Slam City Skates. My good friend Paddy Jones and Jacob Sawyer. They're the two people that got me my first job at the skate shop there, which came at a really good time because that's when I started to really think about if I could do something in skateboarding. I was over working retail jobs and doing side jobs for other companies, not really feeling like I was doing what I needed to do in my life. So being brought into a skate shop was a great way to make me realize that I wanted to do something in skateboarding, create something that was different and that I could bring my version or what I thought was cool into skateboarding, especially at that time when I felt like it was very boring.

V: When was that?

D: I think I first had the idea of doing Yardsale when it was like 2012. At first it was kind of like, "It'd be cool to make clothes and have videos that came out." From there I spent a year with my cousin designing. I had no experience in logo design or clothing design. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but we probably spent a year back and forth, me going to his house in the evening, staying up late, thinking of different ways of doing logos, different images that we could use.

V: Before you started Yardsale, you were filming skating, right?

D: Yeah, but I basically never ever felt like I was supposed to be a skateboard filmer ever. I'd film my friends, I'd film people I knew at Southbank, and then they wanted me to film them, so I started filming them and then I just got really into it. I guess once you have people that you look up to telling that you're good at filming and that they like your stuff, you instantly become hyped on it.

V: What was it like in England? Did you guys look up to the skaters in America or the local ones?

D: Both. It's weird. You're brought up on American skate videos no matter where you live in the world. They have such a heavy influence on you and they're kind of out of reach. Then when you start skating at places like Southbank, you see the people that are in the London videos and that becomes way more attainable and that's when you really start looking up to skaters like Rory Milanes, Charlie Young and Joey Pressey. It was a hub of Landscape riders, the first Palace riders, even some of the Blueprint riders. It was sick but it's weird because America played a big influence. You had Dylan Rieder, Heath Kirchart, Andrew Reynolds, which you'd be super hyped on and look at from a distance. But in London, I can actually see the locals in real life. So that makes me way more hyped. Also, London has its own style. I feel like a lot of the reason I started Yardsale, filming and the way I do it is because 50% of me hated how London skate videos look. I always felt quite bored watching a lot of the London skate videos. Not all of them. Some of them made Yardsale what it is now. I kind of started Yardsale because I hated what it looked like and I wanted to change it, and the other 50% inspired me to do that.

V: Why did you decide to call your brand Yardsale? I didn't know this, but "yardsale" is not a British word, it's an American word, right?

D: The name never came first. It was always about the aesthetic. It was always the vision. It was always how the videos and clothing were going to look. And then after a while I started writing names that come to the top of my head. I wrote it down once, sent it to one of my design friends and he made a logo out of it. He turned it into that script logo that we used quite a lot. I never focused too much on what the name means because I don't think that really has anything to do with the company. When you hear Chocolate Skateboards, you don't think of a chocolate bar. You think of the whole aesthetic and the video. You think of this whole other world that's been created with that name.

V: What was it like in the early stages of running Yardsale?

D: If it was a real company that had a large amount of cash injected into it, we'd probably have been finished a long time ago. It's those first three years, which created the whole aesthetic, which we had and still have the skate trips where it's you and a group of friends that are really close and you spend all day skating spots that you think are cool that you find. And I think the first three years were so focused on me and Curtis Pearl going out and trying to find spots that had never been skated before and skating really comfortably together because we all knew each other. If someone starts a company nowadays, they pick riders from different teams. It just looks wrong because they've never skated together before and there's something off. They've already had their careers, they've already started something, they're not doing this together from the beginning. So the first three years were really important because it was literally a group of friends that are really passionate and still are about skateboarding and trying to do the most different thing that they could at the time.

V: When did you see Yardsale take off?

D: To be honest, that first video we made was very important because looking back on it now, it was very different at that time. All of the skate companies were kind of following the same thing pretty much except for Alien Workshop, Palace and Polar. But everyone else was following the same boring skateboard format. I remember when the first video came out, we had a premiere in London. The response was really good. Everyone was tripped out that it was made in London because it looked so different. I mean, half of it was filmed in LA, but the first London half, it looks very different. And we had clothes that went with it that were also different. I was working at Slam at the time and they were already selling a lot of T-shirts. I guess probably 2016 is when we did our first actual line of clothing. I still remember being at my house and not knowing how the first line was going to sell. And the second it went live, we were all tripping out on how much was getting sold. We were freaking out in my bedroom, just sitting by a computer watching the numbers go up and be like, "Wow, this is crazy."

 

V: Did you have any backers or investors?

D: No. It started out with my dad lending me like 1,500 quid to make the first line of T-shirts. And then from there it's been reliant on shops paying us in time and deposits and stuff like that, which is kind of a big hindrance because most companies have a backing of an injection of money. I've been offered before by other companies to invest. I had a few meetings with a few different companies that wanted to buy a really large percentage of the company, which is why I never did it. But then that would've been the investment that we'd have needed to really come out as a worldwide skateboard company. But I never wanted to do that because I didn't want to lose my percentage. And I was also very conscious about somebody else having control over that I wanted to grow organically. I was always scared of that.

V: Wise decision.

D: For sure. Honestly, looking back on it, it's been such hard work. I work seven days a week. I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm thinking about, "Fuck, I didn't do that," or "Dude, I haven't spoke to that team rider in a week. I need to make sure he's cool." It's a constant job. You're running a company, but you're also running a family at the same time. So I feel like a weird old father looking after riders and colleagues whilst also running the company. It keeps me up a lot.

 

V: You have distinct aesthetics. Where do you draw inspiration from?

D: I've always been into clothing. When you go skating, I won't skate as well if I don't feel good about what you're wearing. There's this weird feeling you get when you're wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in where it actually makes you skate better. So clothing is a big part of it, and trainers and just the whole look in general. As for inspiration, I've always been hyped on 90s clothing, even 2000s clothing. Going to LA in my late teens and going into all the thrift shops there. Seeing clothes that you couldn't get in London and being like, "Why does no one wear this kind of stuff in London? This stuff's so sick." So I'd go to LA and buy loads of stuff from thrift shops, bring it back to London, and then I'd be like, "All right, we need to use this part of this hoodie." So I think it's a mix of LA and 90s skateboarding.

V: You guys also have music mixes.

D: Yeah, the music in skateboarding was always such a big thing for me, still is probably the biggest thing. If I watch a skate video and the music isn't good, I'm usually over it. I'm surrounded by people that also have the same taste in music as me and are really forward with looking for new music, which I think helps. A lot of my friends in LA have really good music tastes. They've put me onto a lot of stuff, and I think once you start hearing a sound that you like, you then become obsessed with it, and then you really dive even deeper into it. So yeah, music's always been a really big thing for me.

 

V: I noticed you don't have any pro boards.

D: That's something that's going to change soon because after this video, I think it's going to be apparent that there's a few riders that are at a level where it'd be very understandable if they turn pro. So it's something that's in the works. It's definitely something that's going to happen because I feel like having pros in the team is a very important part of having a skateboard company, especially for the younger generation. The reason there hasn't been pros is because I've always been so picky about it. I don't want to turn someone pro unless they could be pro on an American level. Do you know what I mean? Turning someone pro, they need to have a video part that makes sense.
 

V: Now Thaynan Costa is on the team.

D: Every single rider on Yardsale has been someone that we've hit up from a young age. They've not had a sponsor before, which is something that I'm really proud of. Even before, when Kyle Wilson, Charlie Birch, Julian Kimura, Sam Sitayeb rode for YS. So when choosing someone that has a history, it was a big decision. But I've always really liked Thaynans skating, and we were sending him clothes for about a year and a half before. I'd always see his footage that he'd post in the clothing, and I'd be like, "Damn, it looks so right." It makes so much sense. But I held back from going any deeper into that because I knew he had a board sponsor. But we went to Lisbon to meet him and we skated with him. It instantly made complete sense. The crew felt completely at one with him being there. Plus his skating is obviously amazing, and I like the fact that he's a tech ledge skater.

V: All your riders have different styles and it makes it way more fun to watch the videos. This year is the 10th anniversary for Yardsale and you have the YS 3 video.

D: I didn't know it was the 10 years anniversary until very recently when someone told me that, which is absolutely insane. We started working on the new video about a year and a half ago. It came off the back of us releasing the YS UK video, which we filmed throughout the whole of lockdown because we could only skate the UK. Then when that one came out, I was over making long skate videos. So then the idea was that we'd released videos from each trip that we'd go on. We went on a trip to Athens, came back, and there was some weird part of me again. I was like, "I can't do that. I need to make another skate video." I need to make another video that I'm going to look back on, feel proud and hyped on, and see a period of time. Not just a trip, see a space of a year and a half in a video instead of two weeks. And I also thought it'd be nice to make a trilogy of the videos. Plus I knew the team was the best that it had ever been and that we could really make something special.

 

V: What was it like working on the video?

D: Filming skate videos is harder now than it's ever been for me personally, because with running Yardsale, I have so much to do. And filming those kinds of videos, it takes the right person to do it. We use cameras that no one uses, so I can't be getting someone filming a fisheye clip, for instance. It can't be filmed on a camera that everyone uses and have him send it to me and use it in the video. If it's a fisheye clip, it's mainly me. Having a company that you have to run full time and then having cameras that only a few people in the world use... it makes it hard to make a skate video. If I didn't have to run Yardsale and my sole job was to film skateboard videos, we would've made the video in six months. But yeah, the video mainly consists of a few different European trips that we've been on, and then a lot of the stuff that we really enjoy, which is weird cities in the middle of the UK, north of England, places that no one's ever been to before. I have people all around the UK that send me spots that they either find on Google images or they find from skating around their town and the city, which is always really helpful.

V: Did you do anything different from your previous videos?

D: I don't want to maintain the same aesthetic from the previous videos. I want to make sure it's always fresh, always has a distinctive aesthetic. If you repeat what you did in the last video, it's just going to become boring again. So there's definitely a different aesthetic to this video, which you'll be able to tell from the music and the footage. I think there's a lot more gnarly skating.

V: I can see that you're hundred percent hands on. What's the thing that you can never compromise in terms of running Yardsale?

D: That's what makes life so stressful is that there's not much that I can compromise. The number one thing is the skate video, the music and the aesthetic. I always have to be very hands on with creating the videos, with the clothing and stuff like that. I have some friends that have really good eyes, and I have a really good friend who's an amazing artist who does a lot of the graphics. I can fully trust and let him get on with what he thinks is cool. Charlie who helps me run the company has really helped me out a lot over the last 2 years. I would definitely be fucked without him hahah. We now have a team in the office where I trust everyone. Everyone really understands what we do. We're not employing random people from a university. We're not employing someone from the CV being handed in. Everyone that works at Yardsale has been handpicked to do their role, which then makes me feel better because I know that they've been chosen for a reason and that I can trust them. So the compromise thing's weird. I'm trying to get out of it. I'm trying to learn how to let go a little bit. You have to if you want to enjoy your life, because otherwise you just become stressed out the whole time (laughs). But yeah, I've got a good team around me. That's the bottom line.

V: What's next for Yardsale?

D: We've got a bunch of collaborations that are coming out in the near future, which is another thing that we don't really do much of because we only want to do collabs that make sense. We only do collabs that can give us a budget and freedom to make a product and a video that we really like, the Sergio Tacchini, for instance. The way that Yardsale is growing now, it's stocked all over the world. I want to make sure that we can keep stocking in stores that are cool, that understand the brand, and make sure that we keep traveling the world and filming everywhere we go. And the team is very young. If they're doing what they're doing in this video and most of them are under the age of 23, then the next video could be even crazier. So we're just going to maintain what we're doing now and keep growing.

Daniel Kreitem
@yardsale_xxx | @dankreitem

Based in London. After working as a filmer and Slam City Skates staff, he launched Yardsale in 2013. With his unique aesthetic, he broke away from the traditional London way and has been gaining worldwide popularity.

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